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GSoM roundtable: Discussing the hot hand and the ultimate Warriors player

Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors - Game Seven Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

With the off-season malaise in full effect, it’s time to sit down with some of the GSoM moderators and have a quick little round table. Just like NBA players putting in work in the off-season, we hope that in addition to being entertaining, threads like this will allow us, moderators, to practice working as a team before it really starts to count!

I floated the idea of a moderators’ weekend retreat in Napa a la Steve Kerr, but Nate P. mumbled something about “budget” and “crazy.” I’m still holding on to some hope regardless.

Since news at this point in the season is highlighted by items as riveting as Riley Curry’s new playhouse (no seriously, that mini ball pit is pretty dope!), and polling the community to see if they’d rather keep Javale McGee or Elliot Williams, we are going to keep the content on this on the light side.

As we get closer to the season, you can expect to see more of these—but more focused on actual basketball. For now though, please feel free to chime in, belittle our answers below, or suggest future topics you’d like to see us cover:

1. Do you believe in “the hot hand” or not?

Ivan Bettger: Yes. This game is far more entertaining when you believe in the hot hand.

Mike Brady: Absolutely, in part due to the fact that I've experienced it myself (although clearly not at the same level as a professional player haha). But also just because scientists don't know how to quantify it or define it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Besides, how else do you explain Klay's 37 point quarter? Luck?

Kim Stubbe: I don’t know about whether I believe in a “hot hand,” but I do believe in getting “in the zone.” When one is “in the zone,” there is complete focus and mindfulness, which allows for a better performance.

Life is so complex and humans are so emotional that it is impossible to do that every day or for every game.

Nate P.: From the moment I first heard about this debate, I figured the only way you could even consider that there isn’t a hot hand is if you’ve never played the game. As Kim said, there are times when you reach a moment of such complete focus and mindfulness — popularized as “flow” -- that it feels entirely effortless to put the ball in the basket. To deny that is to deny an aspect of the human experience that we can all relate to simply because we don’t have the conceptual framework to explain/quantify it.

Jason Lee.: Not only do I believe in the hot hand, after watching Curry and Klay these past few years I believe in the blazing inferno hand. Then there’s the behind-the-back-passing-out-of-bounds hand. *sob*

Tamryn Spruill: Yes. And I attribute the hot hand to meditative equipoise... that state of hyper-presence frequently referred to as being in the zone, where body and brain work on autopilot, where thought is silenced. It’s like being in the moment, but on steroids. Oh, how glorious life would be if we could all enter this state at-will... if any single Warrior could have slipped into this zone in Game 7...

Sami Higgins: I agree with Tamryn here. It’s no different than saying a player is “in the zone.” You can’t watch Klay Thompson on a regular basis and not believe in the hot hand.

Apricot: Definitely. Though I think it’s hard to measure because of heat checks depressing the efficiency of the en fuego. Heat checks are one of my favorite concepts. “Hmm... how on fire am I right now? Let’s get more data points by firing up this irresponsible shot.”

Bram Kincheloe: A hot hand is liable to get you burned. After relying on “well, whatever, eventually one of us will get hot and we’ll just go ahead and win this game” for an entire season, the Warriors finally cooled down at the worst possible moment and...well...let’s just move on.

Hugo Kitano: Once I hit 9 threes in one pickup game, so yeah, I think so. But I agree with Bram: we’re often not as hot as we think we are.

2. If you could go out for a drink with any one Warriors (h/t Monta), past or present, who would it be and why?

SH: Draymond, of course. He knows how to have a good time. Though Iguodala seems like he’d have a lot of good stories. And maybe he could explain some of his cryptic tweets.

IB: Oof. Drinking with Draymond would be way too much excitement for my old bones. I’m hitting the scotch bar with Don Nelson.

MB: Draymond is a great answer but I'm tempted to say Harrison Barnes, first of all he just seems like a really good guy. But secondly he doesn't drink, which means I don't have to worry about being designated driver. But in the end I think it would probably be Klay, he's a dog lover, laid back, sort of introverted in some ways. I think we would have plenty to talk about (or not talk about, as we would probably just both sit there in silent contemplation).

KS: I’m going to agree with MB and go with Klay Thompson. I have a burning desire to know whether or not he truly is introverted and laid back.

Or, is that’s just his on court personality because he gets so focused? I’ve seen videos of him doing rap karaoke at a club and party. That might be quite amusing.

NP: Kent Bazemore is unquestionably the player I’d most want to have a drink with. I have never laughed as much during interviews as the ones I got a chance to do with Bazemore during his time in Santa Cruz. Kent Bazemore is thus the only correct answer to this question.

JL: I want to say Shaun Livingston because he’s been around the league and played with so many different players that I think he’d have a ton of great stories. Plus, he’s one of my favorite guys on the squad and seems super chill. But if I had the chance to meet a Warriors’ player and I didn’t choose Curry and bring along my wife to meet him, she would murder me in my sleep. So, Curry.

TS: I’d have to go with fellow Aquarius, Klay Thompson. And I’d hope we could have drinks outside somewhere so that his Rocco and my Nico could run around and play! Aquarians are thought to be reserved, aloof, or even shy. But, as they say, it’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for!

BK: I’m going team #OldMan here and saying Steve Kerr. Undoubtedly, we’d fall into some epic conversation (a la Gregg Popovich and his #squad) about politics, world history, religion, life, you name it. Also, I feel like he has nice taste in wine and I’ve been waiting for some rich guy to show me the good vintages. But then, twist, Draymond and I would meet up afterwards to keep the party going and we’d end up three days later still awake somehow skydiving with open bottles clasped in our hands, delicious champagne streaming through the air as we plummeted towards an uncertain future.

Belly Bumper: I’d like to get Stephen Curry sh*t-faced drunk.

HK: I’m going to go with Stephen Jackson. The guy was one of my We Believe heroes, and he’s one of the funniest NBA players I’ve ever heard. Listen to the TrueHoop podcast he’s on for some amazing stories.

3. For most in the NBA, it's not about being great at everything. It's about finding one or two things and becoming a master of it. What would you say are your strengths as a GSoM writer?

KS: I think I’m pretty good at putting a personal touch and some humor into my writing.

NP: Like Kent Bazemore, I’m just happy to be here and willing to do whatever I can to help, whether it be cheerleading from the sidelines or stepping in to contribute by doing the dirty work on defense.

JL: I’m good with wordses and I can grammar.

TS: My GSoM writing goals are: 1) explore topics that are often glossed over or stepped around, even when doing so sometimes pisses people off; 2) bring unique perspectives into the sports conversation; and 3) infuse literary elements into sports writing.

SH: I’m still figuring it all out, but I’m having a great time doing so!

Apricot: I think I’m not a bad explainer of concepts, and sometimes notice patterns and things in the game that others don’t.

BK: [inserts two thousand words about something completely not related to basketball and people get pisssssssssed]

Belly Bumper: Although I’m primarily only an editor at GSoM, I hope to put out an article from time to time. I believe I’m able to ensure my writing flows from start to finish and that the topic is relevant to both my interests as well as the reader’s. Otherwise, I’ll stick to writing in my daily diary aka Twitter.

HK: I think I ride the Patrick McCaw train better than anybody else. The guy is crazy good.

4. Last question, if you could merge any two of our non-stars to create the ultimate NBA player, who would it be?

IB: Shaun Livingston’s bball intelligence, defensive ability, and passing skills, crossed with Damian Jones’ athleticism, youth, size, and raw potential.

MB: Ivan basically came up with a better version of what I was thinking, I was going to go with Iguodalas basketball I.Q in the body of JaVale McGee.

NP: If I went with Jones and Patrick McCaw — I’m assuming a lot about his potential to offer him up instead of Livingston -- would we get a better shooting player though?

JL: This might be cheating but I’d give Steve Kerr’s shot to any big man on our team and put him on the floor with Curry, Klay, KD, and Green to rain death on opposing teams. Oh and can I give him Varejao’s hair?

BK: Stephen Curry’s shot mixed with Stephen Curry’s game because he is the perfect basketball player and you can never prove me wrong—no, no of course I don’t want to talk about his postseason injury and being up 3-1—he is so perfect he was unanimous MVP and I guess you can never take that away no matter what else has ever happened or will ever happen, so there.

Belly Bumper: There are non-stars on our team? #ArrogantSZNPart2

HK: I’ll combine James Michael McAdoo and Damian Jones to get James Jones, who I believe is LeBron James’ life-force.

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